Low levels of serotonin are thought to contribute to a wide range of both mental and physical problems.
These can range anywhere from mood to sleep and even appetite.
Naturally, the question is then how can you raise your levels of serotonin in the hopes of alleviating some of these issues?
This is where 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan can come into play.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. It’s actually an amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin.
5-HTP was originally isolated from the plant Griffonia simplicifolia in 1958 and was used to reduce nausea. It wasn’t until 1982 that research displayed it can help with more than that.
It can actually be used to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, migraines and fibromyalgia. It’s also used to improve sleep quality and appetite control.
You’re probably thinking “That’s great, but how does it work?”
1. The body uses tryptophan to make both serotonin and melatonin, another important neurotransmitter. The brain converts tryptophan into 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).
2. This molecule travels from your bloodstream through your brain barrier and into your brain cells (neurons).
3. Inside the neuron, an enzyme called tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) converts 5-HTP into serotonin.
Now that we’ve discussed how it works, let’s get into the benefits.
Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain, as well as other health problems.1
This is why finding ways to increase your serotonin production has become a popular topic.
Some of my favorite benefits are it:
For anyone looking to start supplementing 5-HTP, the recommended doses are 300-500mg daily taken in 100-200mg doses. I take 100mg to feel a mood lift and 200mg before bed and it can improve my sleep. It also boosts my mental well-being.
I like to stack it with other serotonin ingredients like Zembrin and Saffron.
There are many potential benefits to supplementing 5-HTP but it’s definitely recommended to speak with your physician before adding this to your arsenal of tools to battle any issues such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.